The fun and educational site for parrot loving kids of all ages!

Psittacula Parrots

Ringneck Babies Peer from nest
Plum-headed parakeetRose-ringed ParakeetLord Derby's ParakeetRed-breasted Parakeet
Layard's ParakeetBlue-winged ParakeetLong-tailed parakeetSlaty-headed Parakeet

Psittacula parakeets, often referred to as ring-necked parakeets, are some of the most elegant of all the parrots.

There are 14 species of Psittacula parakeets and many subspecies. The colorations and markings vary between the species but they all share the common characteristics of a sleek body shape, long tapered tails, orange to red colored beaks, vividly colored heads and unique neck markings. The males and female birds are easily differentiated from each other. The male of the species has a brightly colored head and a distinctive black ring around his neck. The female has paler colored feathers and either no ring or a very light colored ring.

Two of the most common species kept as pets are the Alexandrine Parakeet and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet. These birds are very good talkers and they are described as intelligent, outgoing and independent. They require one on one interaction to form strong bonds, and if properly socialized, enjoy interacting with their human flock. Ring-neck parakeets are not physically needy birds and not as cuddly as some parrot species.

Ring-necks are avid chewers and must be provided with safe, destructible wood toys to satisfy this instinct.

Rose-ringed Parakeet

ringneck map

Psittacula parakeets originate from an area ranging from Africa to South-East Asia and the islands of the Indian Ocean.

The ring-necked parakeets habitat is mostly forest and open woodlands preferentially near cultivated farmlands and orchards.

They are often observed in small flocks but join into much larger flocks where food is plentiful.

The ring-necks diet is largely fruit, vegetables, seed, nuts, blossoms and farm crops. They are known to cause extensive damage to those crops and are therefore considered as agricultural pests.

 

Listen to Alexandrine Parakeets in the wild:

View a video of an Indian Ringneck digging a nest hole:

 
Psittacula eupatria
  © 2015 Cornell University

To see more pictures and obtain information about various Psittacula species click on the links below:

Life Span:

35 - 40 yrs.

Length:

13 - 23"

Weight:

90 - 250 grams

  • One of the first parrot species recorded in history was the Alexandrine parakeet which was named after Alexander the Great who exported this bird to Europe and the Mediterranean region.
  • Alexandrine Parakeets were considered to be prized possessions of the royalty.
  • Aristotle referred to Psittacula parrots in his writings.
  • Ancient Romans kept Indian Ring-neck parrots as pets.
  • Non-native feral populations of ring-necked parakeets have also been established in a number of European cities as well as Florida and California as the result of escaped birds.
  • It is reported that over 50,000 Indian Ring-necked parakeets populate England. Due to their destructive nature towards crops the government has declared they can be shot without seeking permission.
  • It is estimated that there are as many as 50,000 naturalized Ring-necked Parakeets in England. Britain has officially named this bird as a pest and allows them to be shot by farmers without requiring a license.
  • The Indian parakeet is a recurring theme in Indian mythology and folktales. In many south Indian temples, the Goddess holds a parrot in her hand.
  • These parrots are also used in India by astrologers to predict the future. The caged parrots are taught to pick cards which are then used to tell someone's fortune.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle of a Ring-necked Parakeet.
  • Take a quiz about Psittacula Parakeets.
  • Print a Ring-necked Parakeet coloring page.
  • Iran, Thailand and Mongolia have all issued stamps picturing Alexandrines:
stamp Ringneck stamp Ringneck2 stamp Ringneck3

(source: bird-stamps.org)

  • Check out this fun video of an Alexandrine performing tricks:
  • Watch an adorable video of a bunny loving ringneck! 

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Poicephalus Parrots

pic poicephalus meyers
Brown headed Parrot Red bellied Parrot Ruppels Parrot Red fronted Parrot
Yellow fronted Parrot Senegal Parrot WPT Cape Parrot Brown necked Parrot
pic poicephalus

There are nine species of Poicephalus parrots but only four species are commonly kept as pets: the Meyer's Parrot, Senegal Parrot, Red-bellied Parrot and Brown-headed Parrot.

Physically, Poicephalus parrots are considered a medium sized parrot.  They have stocky bodies, large heads and beaks and short tails.

Poicephalus parrots are often described as easy-going,affectionate, playful and curious.  Although they do need daily interaction they also can be independent and entertain themselves if provided proper enrichment and lots of toys to chew.

These medium sized parrots are not as noisy as many other parrot species and they prefer a quiet home environment.  Given proper socialization they can bond to the entire household and make excellent pets and loyal friends.  Poicephalus parrots are also intelligent and can often learn to talk and perform tricks.

poicephalus mapPoicephalus parrots are native to the African continent. Their habitat is characterized as open woodlands and savannas.

This species diet cinsists of fruits, leaf buds, and seed.  They are also considered to be agricultural pests due to their fondness for corn and millet crops.

Poicephalus parrots nest in tree hollows.

Many of the Poicephalus species are threatened by illegal trapping activities for resale to the pet trade.

The Cape Parrot population is significantly threatened by Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD).  Sadly, as of 2010, there were only an estimated 1200 Cape Parrots remaining in the wild.

 

View a video of the critically endangered Cape Parrot:
Poicephalus meyerii
Source: Xeno-canto

Listen to Meyer's Parrots in the wild:

View a video of Meyer's Parrots:

Source: The Internet Bird Collection

View a video of Senegal Parrots:

Source:The Internet Bird Collection

To see more pictures and obtain information about individual Poicephalus species click on the links below:

 

Life Span:

25 - 40 yrs.

Length:

8 - 13" (21 - 34 cm)

Weight:

3.5 - 12 oz. (100 - 330 grams)

 

 

  • Poicephalus, derived from Ancient Greek, means "made up entirely of head". Indeed, the birds in the Poicephalus species seem to have large heads and beaks relative to their body size.
  • The only color you don't find on a Poicephalus parrot is blue.
  • The Zulu name for the endangered Cape Parrot is "uPholi"
  • Poicephalus parrots have been featured on postage stamps by several countries including Guinea,Chad and Cambodia:

(source: bird-stamps.org)

stamp Poicephalus stamp Poicephalus2 stamp Poicephalus3

  • Gambia has featured the Senegal Parrot on a 100 Gambian Dalasis banknote: 
  • banknote senegal

  • Do a Cape Parrot jigsaw puzzle.
  • Take a quiz about Poicephalus parrots.
  • Print a Poicephalus coloring page.
  • Watch a Senegal Parrot perform 20 tricks in two minutes!
  •  

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Parrotlets

Pacific Parrotlet
Blue-winged ParrotletSpectacled Parrotlet Mexican ParrotletGreen-rumped Parrotlet
Dusky-billed ParrotletYellow-faced Parrotlet Brown-backed Parrotlet Lilac-tailed Parrotlet

Parrotlets are often described as very large birds trapped in a little bird's body. These wonderful birds are certainly packed with lots of personality and have become one of the most popular small pet birds.  They are like having a miniature amazon parrot without the screaming.

Parrotlets are intelligent, curious, feisty, fearless and playful.  They enjoy interacting with the humans around them and sometimes they are called a "pocket parrot".

Parrotlets love to chew and should be provided with suitably sized destructible toys to keep them happy.  They also love swings and sleeping tents.

There are several species of parrotlet but only two are commonly kept as pets, the Pacific Parrotlet and the Green Rump Parrotlet.  The Pacific Parrotlet is especially popular.

Parrotlets are 4 - 5" tall, have stocky bodies and short broad tails.  You can often tell the males from females due to slight color variations.  For example, male Pacific Parrotlets have a blue streak behind their eyes.

They are not known to be the best talkers, they have a small voice and typically will only learn up to about 10 words. Males are known to be better talkers than female parrotlets.

15papa

parrotlet map

Wild parrotlets are native to Mexico, South America and Central America. Their habitat ranges from lowland forests to shrublands. They can thrive in both dry and moist environments.

They are often seen in small flocks ranging in size from a few pairs to up to 100 birds. The flock is mainly active in the early mornings and evenings. During breeding season they are often only seen in pairs.

A parrotlet's green coloration is ideal camoflague against the forest and grassland colors to help protect them from predators.

A parrotlet's diet in the wild consists mainly of grass seeds, leaf buds, flower blossoms, berries and other small fruits.

Parrotlets mate for life and they make their nests in tree hollows.  The female usually lays 4-5 eggs that hatch in about two weeks.

Parrotlets are not considered as a threatened species in the wild.

Listen to Pacific Parrotlets in the wild:

Forpus coelestis

View a video of Pacific Parrotlets in the wild:

Source: The Internet Bird Collection

 

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Macaws

Scarlet Macaw
Hyacinth MacawGreen-winged Macaw Blue-throated MacawMilitary Macaw
Severe MacawHahn's MacawIlliger's MacawRed-bellied Macaw

Macaws are exceptionally beautiful and extremely graceful parrots. These birds are not particularly known for their talking abilities, though they can imitate human speech and can be great companion birds. Macaws are renowned for their size, their long tail feathers, their very big vocalizing, and their powerful beaks!

The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest flying parrot. Its wings span over 4 feet, and it is over 36" in length! This gorgeous macaw weighs up to three and a half pounds! But not all macaws are large birds. The smallest macaw is the Hahn's Macaw, (Red-shouldered Macaw) and it is a fraction of the size of a Hyacinth. Hahn's Macaws are between 12-14" in length and are referred to sometimes as 'mini-macaws.'

There are eighteen species of macaws, though five of those are already extinct. The Spix's Macaw (Little Blue Macaw) is extinct in the wild, and the Glaucous Macaw is considered to be critically endangered or already extinct.

One physical characteristic that separates macaws from other parrots is their facial features. Macaws have bare patches of skin on their faces, and these can vary in size depending on the species of macaw. For example, the yellow ring around a Hyacinth Macaw's eyes isn't feathers, it's actually the color of its skin! Each macaw's face is unique, and the feather patterns are similar to human fingerprints: there are no two alike in the world!

Blue & Gold Macaw

macaw map

Macaws are "New World" parrots, meaning they are found only in the Western Hemisphere of the world. Macaws are native to Mexico, Central and South America. They can be found in rainforested areas, as well as in woodlands and on savannahs.

Macaws do a incredible job of blending in with their environment. With their brilliant rainbow-colored feathers, they camouflage themselves with the foliage (leaves and branches of plants and trees) and with the fruits and vegetables that they include in their diets.

Macaws are very intelligent, social birds. In the wild, macaws can be found in flocks of ten to thirty birds. With a long lifespan (at least 50+ years), they are known to mate for life. When the female macaw lays her eggs (usually two to three), the male's role is to provide food for her as she sits on the clutch until the eggs hatch in approximately 26-28 days.

The macaws' diet in the wild consists mainly of fruits, seeds, flowers and stems, nuts, insects and snails! Some macaws are known to also eat the clay from river banks. There are scientists who believe that this helps them to digest some of the foods that they eat!

The wild population of macaws is declining primarily due to loss of habitat and illegal trapping for the pet trade. The majority of macaw species are considered to be endangered in the wild.

 

Watch Hyacinth Macaw babies leave their nest hollow:

Listen to Hyacinth Macaw in the wild:

Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus

View a video of Scarlet and Green-winged Macaws feeding at a clay lick:

Take a look at this video of a flock of Hyacinth Macaws eating Palm nuts: 

 

To see more pictures and obtain information about individual cockatoo species click on the links below:

 

Life Span:

50+ yrs.

Length:

12 - 40" (31 - 100 cm)

Weight:

6 - 51 oz. (165 - 1450 grams)

* Life span, size and weight vary by species.

  • The largest parrot species is the Hyacinth Macaw.
  • The Scarlet Macaw is the national bird of the Honduras.
  • The Scarlet Macaw was a symbolic creature of the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures.
  • In Mayan mythology, macaws and parrots were associated with the sun god and kingship. Their impressive tail feathers were traded and used in the headdresses of Mayan leaders or given to the gods as offerings.
  • The Aztecs also prized the feathers and demanded them as tribute from other tribes.
  • The Spix Macaw is the most critically endangered parrot in the world. The last known individual in the wild disappeared in 2000.
  • Macaws have been honored by many countries on postal stamps. Here are a few examples from Nicaragua and Brazil:
 stamp Macaw  stamp Macaw2  stamp Macaw3

(source: bird-stamps.org)

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Lovebirds

Fischers Lovebirds at Nest
Grey-headed Lovebird Black-cheeked Lovebird Black-collared LovebirdBlack-masked Lovebird
Black-winged Lovebird Lillian's Lovebird Red-headed LovebirdPeach-faced Lovebird

Lovebirds are one of the smaller species of parrots, and are known to be very intelligent, affectionate and social. The name 'lovebird' is perfect for these parrots because of their devotion to their mates. Pairs perch closely, preening each other, for long periods of time.

Lovebirds make terrific companion parrots though they aren't known to be big talkers. Lovebirds need lots of toys and cage enrichment to stay busy and to keep their beaks trimmed. Like other parrot species, lovebirds need attention and positive interaction from their owners in order to avoid undesirable behaviors like feather-picking and biting.

There are nine different species of lovebirds, and of those, three are commonly kept as companion pets. They include the Peach-Faced Lovebird, the Fischer's Lovebird, and the Masked Lovebird.

In the wild, lovebirds' bodies are mostly green, with different colors on their chests, necks and heads. They have sharp beaks, stocky little bodies, and short, blunt tails. Lovebirds are five to six-and-a-half inches in length and weigh approximately one-and-a-half to two ounces.

Many hybrid lovebirds have been domestically bred, and so many different color combinations of these birds exist in captivity.

pic lovebird2b

lovebird mapEight of the nine species of lovebirds are native to the continent of Africa. The Grey-headed Lovebird (Madagascar Lovebird) is found on the island of Madagascar, off of the southeast coast of Africa. Lovebirds can be found in many countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania , South Africa, and Angola, and some species have been introduced into other African countries. The habitat of lovebirds is diverse, ranging from sub-desert steppes and savanna woodlands to high, forested regions. One species of lovebirds, the Black-winged Lovebird, lives at altitudes in Ethiopia as high as 12,000 feet! That's over two miles above sea level!

In the wild, lovebirds live in small flocks, with up to twenty members. However, lovebirds may form larger flocks with hundreds of birds if there is a good food or water source available. These little parrots make complicated nests in tree cavities and normally lay anywhere from four to six eggs in their clutches.

Lovebirds have a varied menu to choose from in the wild. They mostly eat seeds, including grasses, sunflower seeds, millet and maize, as well as fruit and berries, flowers, and some crops grown by farmers.

There are still hundreds of thousands of lovebirds in their natural habitat in Africa and Madagascar. But, like most parrot species, lovebirds are still captured and sold for pets, and therefore are considered to be threatened.

 

Listen to Lovebirds in the wild:

Agapornis roseicollis

© 2015 Cornell University

Watch Fischer's Lovebirds searching for a nest hollow and mating:

View a video of Abyssinian Lovebirds preening each other:

Source: The Internet Bird Collection

To see more pictures and obtain information about individual cockatoo species click on the links below:

 

Life Span:

10 - 15 yrs.

Length:

5 - 6.5"  (12.7 - 16.5 cm)

Weight:

1.5 - 2 oz (42 - 56 grams)

  • Lovebirds are in the genus agapornis, which is Greek for 'love' (agape) and 'bird' (ornis)!
  • The name lovebird represents this species tendency to form a strong seemingly inseparable bond with their mate.
  • Black-collared Lovebirds only eat figs from their native environment so they typically not kept in captivity.
  • The female Peach-faced Lovebird tucks nesting material, like bark, into its rump feathers and then carries it to the nesting site.
  • The Black-winged or Abyssinian Lovebird is the only lovebird that uses its own feathers for its nest. Other lovebirds use twigs, leaves and other debris. (source: World Parrot Trust)
  • The Red-faced Lovebird has been observed to sleep upside down in captivity. (source: World Parrot Trust)
  • Lovebirds have been honored by many countries on postal stamps including Tanzania and Nambia.
stamp Lovebird2 stamp Lovebird3

(source: bird-stamps.org)

  • Do a Lovebird jigsaw puzzle.
  • Take a quiz about Lovebirds.
  • Print a Lovebird coloring page.
  • Check out this video of a young girl and her trick trained lovebird:
  • Check out the tap dancing skills of this adorable lovebird:

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